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18 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ohio

If you think Ohio is common, predictable and uneventful—think again. From important steps in American history to straight up strange laws, Ohio will keep you on your toes just when you thought you had the state figured out.

1) Akron was the first city to use police cars.

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2) Ohio has the largest Amish population of any other state.

3) Ohio is home to the first interracial and coeducational college in the United States. (Oberlin College, founded in 1833.)

4) The first ever full-time automobile service station opened in Ohio in 1899. 

5) Cleveland claims to have erected America’s first traffic light on Aug. 5, 1914.

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6) The first concrete street in America was poured in 1891 near the Logan County Courthouse in Bellefontaine. Rumor has it that it’s still in use today.

7) Cleveland was the first city to be lighted by electricity.

8) In Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk.

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9) Ohio is the leading producer of greenhouse and nursery plants.

10) The 18,000-year-old Glacial Grooves on the north side of Kelleys Island are the largest (and most easily accessible)  ice sheet grooves in the world.

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11) Ohio is believed to have been the first state to have an African America elected to public office. John Mercer Langston, elected clerk of Brownhelm in 1854, is believed to have been the first African American ever elected to public office..

12) Fostoria is the only city to be situated in three counties (Seneca, Hancock and Wood.)

13) In 1865, the first ambulance service was established in Cincinnati.

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14)  Cleveland also claims the site of the first pedestrian button for the control of a traffic light. The boy chosen for the 1948 newsreel to demonstrate its operation was Louis Spronze, at East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. 

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15) Ohio was the first state to enact laws protecting working women.

16) The American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus.

17) The first professional city fire department was in Cincinnati.

18) “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” proclaimed the Y Bridge in Zanesville to be the only bridge in the world that you can cross and still be on the same side of the river. The bridge was initially built in 1814, and the current bridge is the fifth construction at the same location.

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What uncommon knowledge do you have about Ohio?

April Dray
Ohio staff writer for Only in Your State, freelance journalist and blogger. Written word is my zeal. I love my cat and she tolerates me.